City council discusses housing bill, city budget, Pride Month at Tuesday meetingKaitlyn Little June 12, 2019 0 COMMENTS
During the Santa Clarita City Council meeting on June 11, Senate Bill 13, the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, rodenticides and LGBTQ Pride Month were among the topics of discussion at city hall.
Senate Bill 13
Santa Clarita plans to oppose SB 13, a bill by State Senator Bob Wieckowski. This bill is part of his renewed effort to resolve the California housing crisis. According to Sen. Wieckowski’s website, it is “a bill that would reduce development impact fees and eliminate other barriers for homeowners who want to construct accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their property.”
Councilmember Laurene Weste said that she believes the intentions of SB 13 are good but there are better ways to go about improving the housing crisis.
“Neighborhoods are designed for a certain amount of traffic capacity,” Weste said. “And this, you’d be losing garages, you’d be losing parking places with nothing additional. There’d be an incredible amount of sewage impact and the sewers are calibrated to handle certain amounts of flow from certain amounts of people in dwelling units.”
The Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget and Capital Improvement Program
The annual budget and capital improvement program for this fiscal year was presented by City Manager Kenneth W. Striplin. The recommended budget for this fiscal year is $225.9 million. The general fund revenues are $114 million. Striplin says this budget is consistent with the goals of the city council and used to provide service to Santa Clarita and its’ citizens.
“We’ve continued to maintain a healthy operating reserve and the city’s elite triple-A credit rating, which was reaffirmed this fiscal year,” Striplin said. “Overall, I am happy to report this organization is in solid financial standing. However, the economy is beginning to show signs of slowing and we have continued our conservative budget practices as we prepare for a possible slowdown or correction.”
Landscape Maintenance Contract for Zones 4, 8 and 26
The city council plans to award a two-year contract to Stay Green Inc. for landscape maintenance. Specifically, the contract requires Stay Green Inc. “to provide landscape maintenance services for Landscape Maintenance District Zone 4 (Via Princessa/Sierra Highway), Zone 8 (Ackerman Avenue), and Zone 26 (Centre Pointe Commercial) for an annual amount of $45,540, and authorize an annual contingency of $9,108 to address unforeseen maintenance and repairs, for a total two-year amount not to exceed $109,296,” according to city documents
While discussing this item, Mayor Marsha McLean said that the problem of rats had previously been talked about, and landscaping companies addressed this by using rat poison. However, McLean said that the use of rodenticides can disrupt the natural cycles and wanted to reassure landscaping companies are aware that they cannot go about spreading rat poison.
“You poison the rat and the natural predators get ahold of these poisoned rats, and it kills the natural predators,” McLean said. “That makes absolutely no sense. They will take the poison rat and drop it in someone’s yard. That kills your pets.”
Striplin said they have reduced use of rodenticides and are trying to use more natural elements to deal with current infestations.
“We have certainly restricted the use of those types of rodenticides if you will, and use them only in very limited circumstances and very regulated areas,” Striplin said. “We have also in the last six months encouraged and built owl boxes and things of that nature to encourage more natural predators to deal with the issues.”
Pride Month Recognition
During the meeting, Councilmember Bill Miranda proposed that Santa Clarita honor the month of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. According to the Library of Congress, LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. Miranda said that Santa Clarita is a diverse community made up of various walks of life and cultures that need to be honored.
“[Santa Clarita] [has] in the past honored Black History Month in February or Hispanic Heritage Month in September, we’ve honored Filipino Heritage Month,” Miranda said. “And what I’m asking the council to do and to strongly consider is we honor the [LGBTQ] community with a proclamation proclaiming June as LGBTQ Pride month.”
The proposal will be discussed during the next city council meeting on June 25.
Kaitlyn Little is a San Diego State University graduate. She previously worked as The Daily Aztec's News Editor and a KCR College Radio host.